I’ve always had a penchant for pistachios, whether blended into buttercream frosting, creamy pistachio gelato, or strewn atop spiced muffins. The addition of cranberries takes these simple icebox pistachio cookies over the top, lending them a subtle sweetness and a spectacular appearance. Try one and you’ll see why they’ve taken up permanent residence on my counter this holiday season.
Why Our Testers Loved This
My testers unanimously agreed that the combination of salty, nutty pistachios and sweet-tart cranberries make these cookies outstanding. Tester Robin Currie calls them “one of the simplest, most delicious cookies” you can make.
What You’ll Need to Make This
- Butter–The recipe calls for unsalted butter, so if you’re using salted butter, skip adding the 1/4 teaspoon of salt called for in the recipe.
- Egg yolk–Use a room temperature yolk for best results. It will blend more evenly into the cookie dough than a cold egg.
- Pistachios–Depending on your preference or what you have on hand, you can use plain pistachios or roasted and salted nuts. Either will work in this recipe.
- Cranberries–Use sweetened dried cranberries to add a little pop of sweetness to your cookies. If you have orange-flavored dried cranberries, they also will work well here. I don’t recommend using fresh cranberries for these cookies as they release liquid while baking.
How to Make This Recipe
- Beat the butter and sugar together until well combined and fluffy.
- Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla. Scrape down the side of the mixing bowl as needed.
- Beat in the flour and salt until just combined.
- Add the cranberries and pistachios and mix until incorporated.
- Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Slice the dough into 3/8-inch thick cookies and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350°F until lightly browned. Cool completely.
I recommend baking your cookies within 3 days of stashing the dough in the refrigerator. If you want to store the dough longer, place the wrapped logs of dough in a resealable bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Store the baked cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
If you want to toast your pistachios before adding them to the batter, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them at 350°F (180°C) until fragrant and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. If your nuts have any skins on them, you can remove them by gathering the warm toasted nuts in a kitchen towel and rubbing them together. The skins should fall off easily.
Remember to let the toasted pistachios cool completely before adding them to the cookie dough.
- To make slicing the cookie dough easier, chop the pistachios to a small uniform size.
- Don’t overbake the cookies. They will still be soft when you remove them from the oven but will firm up as they cool.
More Easy Slice and Bake Cookie Recipes
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If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup chopped pistachios
- 3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla extract until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped pistachios and dried cranberries until fully incorporated.
- Divide the dough in half, and form two 6-inch-long (15 cm) logs that are 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Wrap each log tightly with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. The dough can be chilled for a couple of days before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and peel off the plastic wrap. Cut the ends off each log, and then slice each one into 3/8-inch-thick (1 cm) slices, or 13 or 14 equal-size slices per log. Place the slices on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 1⁄2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) between each one.
- Bake until the tops of the cookies are set and the edges are lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Storage–The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.
- Freezing the dough–Store unbaked dough, wrapped in plastic, in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
If you like pistachio shortbread, you’ll LOVE these cookies! The combination of slightly salty pistachios and tart/sweet cranberries puts these cookies over the top. The dough is quick to make and, once chilled, slicing and baking time is 20 minutes.
Pouring myself a cup of mid-morning tea, I reached for a cranberry pistachio cookie. Three cookies later, I had to tell myself not to take another. They’re that good.
They are somewhat sweet because of the sweet dried cranberries (although I used the ones with 50% less sugar). They’re crunchy because of the pistachios and delicious because of the fine shortbread base.
The cookies are quick to make. I made the dough at night and had it in the refrigerator waiting to be popped into the oven just before my mid-morning break. Because they’re so festive looking, they’d also be an excellent cookie to bring to a friend’s house–if you could keep from eating them on the way.
These cranberry pistachio cookies are one of the simplest, most delicious cookies to make. They definitely look and taste more complex than the effort taken to make them!
I put one of the dough logs into the freezer for future baking. I’ll be all set to go next time we- or someone else- need a cookie fix!
The pistachio-cranberry combination is not only perfect taste-wise but also texture-wise. I used orange-flavored cranberries, and I loved the subtle citrus note so much s that if I had only regular cranberries, I would probably add some zest to the dough.
When I brought a cake stand stacked with these bejeweled cookies to the dinner table this weekend, there were plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’ The cookies’ beautiful golden color flecked with ruby red cranberries and verdant pistachios would be perfect for holiday gifts or entertaining.
Like a true slice-and-bake cookie, these icebox cookies don’t spread much on the pan but instead keep their perfectly round shape. I can see swapping in whatever nuts you have on hand and other dried fruits as well into the base recipe. (Pecans and figs, perhaps? Almonds and apricots?)
The cranberry–pistachio combo has always been a favorite around our house. It appears frequently in salads and bread. This was my first time using it in cookies, and it won’t be the last.
The pistachio studded the cookies, and the cranberries provided sweet/tart bursts of flavor. We enjoy a salty finish to many cookies, so I topped about half with finishing salt, and we enjoyed them both ways, although being a salty-sweet girl, I preferred those with the finishing salt. We also enjoy a cranberry–white chocolate combination in cookies, so I may try swapping our a 1/3 each of the cranberries and pistachios for white chocolate next time.
Three cheers for cookies!!! And an extra HUZZAH for the slice-and-bake variety. As the headnote indicates, they’re simple to put together.
I used roasted and salted pistachios. (I prefer roasted and salted nuts and seeds in many of my baked goods as they add extra flavor and texture.) The package of dried fruit in my pantry that I thought were cranberries turned out to be cherries! But the end product was perfectly delicious! I recommend chopping the nuts and fruit into smaller, uniform dice as this makes it easier for rolling and slicing.
Depending on the flavor profile, time of day, and person eating them, you could serve these with anything from milk, coffee, or tea to a pilsner, glass of wine, or even a cocktail. Again, it’s simple and versatile for the win! I’ll be making these again.
I was attracted to this recipe because the cranberry-pistachio cookies had such a lovely colour. The recipe is easy to prepare and the result is a lovely crunchy crumbly cookie.
The biscuits maintained their shape well while cooking and did not spread on the baking tray, so they were able to be placed reasonably close together on the tray. They brown up nicely and crisp when nearly baked, hardening entirely when cool.